Al-Ahli’s star striker Omar Al-Somah wants to stay at Al-Ahli despite fall-out with coach

Updated 11 April 2018
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Al-Ahli’s star striker Omar Al-Somah wants to stay at Al-Ahli despite fall-out with coach

  • Top-scorer stormed off after being hauled off against Al-Hilal
  • 'I will not leave Al-Ahli unless the administration and the fans are convinced that I cannot give any more.'

Syrian striker Omar Al-Somah has apologized and pledged his future to Al-Ahli after he reacted angrily to being substituted last week, but it remains to be seen whether he will start the league-deciding game with Ohod on Thursday.


Al-Somah caused a storm by reacting poorly to being substituted in the 70th minute of the big game with Al-Hilal on Saturday, storming straight past coach Sergiy Rebrov and down the tunnel. It has been reported the top-scorer has been banished from training this week.


The Syrian striker has since apologized via his SnapChat account for his actions and then gave a statement to MCB Sports show Action Ya Dawri.


“I made a mistake in my reaction to the coach Rebrov and I apologize to all Ahlawiya fans, but what was raised about my aggression with him was improper. I apologized to him and I repeat my apologies and I hope he accepts.”


Al-Somah has 11 goals this season, the second most in the Saudi Pro League, and he said he was hoping to partner substitute Muhannad Assiri — not be replaced by him — as Al-Ahli chased a goal that would have dramatically altered the title race.


“I was hoping not to replace the need for the team for a double prong attack, and all analysts have been surprised by this change, and do not know what the coach was thinking then,” said Al-Somah. “We needed to get to the goal and change the way we played. That’s what I was waiting for, like former coach Christian Gross, who was pushing two up-front when we were drawing in any game.”

 

Al-Somah has finished as the league’s top-scorer in the past three seasons and is contracted to the Jeddah club until 2020.


“I want to stay at Al-Ahli and the Saudi Pro League,” he said. “My relationship with the club is very strong. I cannot live outside Jeddah. I want to remain for the three years on my contract and I do not think about leaving. I will not leave Al-Ahli unless the administration and the fans are convinced that I cannot give any more.”


Al-Somah will be itching to start against bottom club Ohod on Thursday, especially as they have conceded 47 goals this season, but Rebrov must decide whether to put his faith in a player who made such a public show of disastisfaction, especially with the title on the line. Al-Ahli need to beat Ohod and hope Al-Hilal slip up against Al-Fateh.


Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

Updated 21 March 2019
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Bert Van Marwijk only has one thing on his mind: getting the UAE to the 2022 World Cup

  • Former Saudi Arabia coach wants to guide the Whites to their first World Cup since 1990.
  • "If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here," Dutchman says of his new job.

LONDON: Bert van Marwijk has told the UAE he only has one thing on his mind: Getting the side to the 2022 World Cup. 

The former Saudi Arabia boss was unveiled as the new coach of the Whites before watching his new team beat his former team 2-1 in a friendly in Dubai (see right). While he was in the stand rather than the dugout — interim boss Saleem Abdelrahman took charge — he would have liked what he saw as he set himself the challenge of leading the UAE to their first showpiece since 1990. 

“I’m here for only one thing, and that’s to qualify for the World Cup,” the Dutchman said.  

“It takes a long time and the first thing we have to deal with is the first qualification round. That’s why I’m here.”

Van Marwijk was celebrated after he led the Green Falcons to last year's World Cup before calling it quits. (AFP) 

Van Marwijk guided Saudi Arabia to last year’s World Cup — the Green Falcons’ first appearance at the showpiece for 12 years — during a two-year stint which ended in September 2017.

That was one of the key reasons the UAE fought hard for the 66-year-old and while it is never easy getting through Asian qualifying — 46 teams going for just four direct slots at Qatar 2022 — the Dutchman claimed his experience, combined with his knowledge of the UAE, will stand him in good stead. 

“The Saudis and the UAE are about the same level. With the Saudis we qualified for Russia, so we will do really everything to go to Qatar in 2022,” Van Marwijk said. 

While he is fondly remembered in the Kingdom — only a contractual dispute regarding backroom staff meant he did not stay on as Green Falcons coach for the Russia tournament — it is his time as the Netherlands coach that really stands out on his managerial resume. Van Marwijk coached the Oranje to within minutes of the World Cup trophy, with only an Andres Iniesta extra-time winner preventing him from tasting ultimate glory against Spain in 2010. 

So why did he return to the Gulf for another crack at World Cup qualification in a tough, crowded race? 

“One of the reasons is the feeling. I have to have the right feeling when I sign a contract,” Van Marwijk said. “We analyzed the UAE, we played four times against each other with Saudi, so I can see the potential.

“I have had the experience to go to the World Cup twice. The first time we were second in the world, the second time was with Australia (which he coached last summer) and we were a little bit unlucky — we played very well. 

“So to go to the World Cup for the third time is the goal.”

Van Marwijk is all too aware his task will be difficult. The “Golden Generation” of Emirati footballers, spearheaded by Omar Abdulrahman, tried and failed to make it to football’s biggest tournament, and a lot of the next three years’ work will likely depend on a new generation.

“I heard there were some young talents, so I’m anxious to know how good they are,” the Dutchman said. “I know the team has a few very good players — the UAE has a few weapons. 

“That’s the most important thing. If I didn’t see the potential, I wouldn’t sit here.”